Lane County Public Health today (Friday) confirmed 11 outbreaks of Influenza-like-illness. The department reports seven people so far have died from the flu. As KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert reports, health officials are pushing the message of prevention in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Flu symptoms can include upper repertory distress, fever, chills, body aches, diarrhea. It’s also highly contagious. The current outbreaks and resulting deaths from Influenza have health officials on high alert.
Lane County’s Public Health spokesman Jason Davis says recent inclement weather has only exacerbated the problem.
Davis: “When there’s ice and snow and rain and everything outside people congregate inside. When people congregate inside they’re breathing the same air, they’re using the same hard surfaces and door handles. Especially when you combine that with lack of proper respiratory hygiene and lack of immunization.”
Davis says about 94% of the population to be immunized to prevent these outbreaks. Right now, under 40% of residents have gotten the flu vaccine.
Health officials urge the highest risk groups: children, pregnant women, elders and people with compromised immune systems to get a flu shot. Anyone without a primary care provider can contact Lane County Public Health or visit participating stores including Albertsons and Costco.